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IC4
DSB's IC4 test train in Århus.
Power type diesel
Builder Ansaldo Breda, Finmeccanica
Build date since 2005
Total production IC4: 14 (83 ordered)
Length 86 m
Weight 160 t
Top speed 200 km/h[1]
Power output 2,240 kW
Safety systems ATC
First run August 7, 2008

The IC4 is an inter-city train built by Italian AnsaldoBreda for the trans-Great Belt routes of Danske Statsbaner (DSB), Denmark's national railway operator. Under DSB's ‘Good trains for everyone’ plan ('Gode tog til alle'), the intent of the IC4 project was to replace several types of outdated rolling stock. However, various delays have turned the project into a major political issue.

The IC4 units were originally scheduled to enter DSB's Intercity service in 2003. On 25 June 2007, one IC4 unit (trainset no. 4) entered regional service between Århus and Aalborg. On 27 August 2007 another test train entered regional passenger service between Århus and Fredericia in eastern Jutland. Two further units entered regional service during the autumn of 2007. By the end of 2007, DSB and AnsoldoBreda were to have decided when the IC4 would be ready for Intercity and IntercityLyn (express inter-city) services. This, however, required the approval of the Danish National Rail Authority.

The IC4's first long-distance run, from Aalborg to Copenhagen, took place on August 7, 2008.

The train type got an approval for regular usage with multiple connected trainsets on May 4, 2009[2]

Contents

Equipment and specifications

The train is powered by four low-emission diesel engines with a ‘common rail’ direct injection system, giving a total power output of 2240 kW (3004 bhp/3045 metric hp). The engines are 20 litre V8 from Iveco. The top train speed of 200 km/h[3] (125 mph). Each train set consists of four articulated cars with a total length of 86 meters (282 feet), and is able to seat 208 people. Built of light aluminium alloys, each trainset weighs 140-160 tonnes.

Up to four trainsets can be coupled together into a single train. However, problems exist with this configuration, so it was decided in the first instance to have the IC4 approved using one trainset only. Approval for multi-unit configurations will be sought later. A single trainset is too short for efficient long-distance operations, therefore it will mainly be used in regional services to begin with.

Design

The design of the train is the outcome of cooperation between DSB’s own designers, with an emphasis on Nordic minimalist design, and the Italian design company Pininfarina (famous for designing Ferrari cars), stressing Italian chic and curved lines. On the outside, the bullet-shaped extremities at each end of the trainset -- familiar from high speed trains throughout Europe -- represent a break with the design of the IC3 train, whose passengers are able to walk between trainsets. The train interior features natural materials in line with Scandinavian design tradition, an audio/video information system with seat reservation displays, and a lounge area.

Controversy

The IC4 train has become a contentious issue in Danish politics, mainly because of the long delays in getting delivery of the trains from Ansaldo Breda. The Danish minister of Traffic and Energy is routinely required to submit progress updates to parliament, and DSB’s choice of a heavily-customised train is often criticised as being the major reason for the delays. The expense involved in lengthening the platforms of several stations along the IC4 routes is the source of much additional criticism. In recent news [4], it was revealed that the trains appear to be working properly, but that the documentation requirements of the safety authorities are preventing the train from fully entering service. Since the end of October 2007 four IC4 units have entered regional service in Jutland. However, service was suspended at the end of February 2008 because of problems with exhaust fumes.[5]. There has been many faults that have not really prevented the train from being used, but still have not been acceptable, for example false warnings, and various other computer related problems.

Ultimatum

In May 2008, DSB gave Ansaldo Breda an ultimatum whereby at least 14 trains had to be approved and ready for regular service before May 2009, or the contract would be canceled and DSB would demand its money back and return its trains to the factory. DSB had ordered a total of 83 IC4 trainsets in 2000, with original delivery set for 2003.

On 7 August 2008 train no. 13 ran from Aarhus H. to Copenhagen H. and back with passengers. On the 21st of May 2009, it became clear the ultimatum had been met with 15 trains delivered , although a subclause stating at last one trainset should be tested and approved for coupling to other units had at the time not been fulfilled. [6]

Current situation

Along with the (partial) fulfillment of the ultimatum, DSB also announced it had reached an agreement with AnsaldoBreda concerning delivery of the remaining trainsets. The final delivery date has been extended to 2012. AnsaldoBreda will drop all further development and all subsequent trainsets will be identical to the current test train. All final updates will be done by DSB itself. AnsaldoBreda will pay DSB a compensation of 2 billion DKr, which together with previously paid compensation fees will entail to refunding half the original contracts' value. DSB retaines the right to cancel the contract if more than seven trains are delivered more than 6 months late. [6]

DSB has a lack of vehicle and a quality problem on the existing ones, since the existing IC3 are old and should have been replaced. Ordering new IC3s would be 'expensive and technically challenging', according to DSB. [6] DSB has together with Deutsche Bahn started using German tilting ICE-TD diesel trains to and from Germany.[7] This relieved the situation somewhat even if these trains are expensive and the adoption for Danish traffic was also expensive. DSB has also in October 2008 ordered 45 coaches worth of new double-decker diesel trains from Bombardier[8], to be delivered starting in the end of 2009.

External links and references

  1. ^ http://www.ansaldobreda.it/upload/allegati_prodotti/28_ITA_ic4.pdf
  2. ^ Betinget typegodkendlese af IC4 til sammenkoblet kørsel (in Danish)
  3. ^ http://www.ansaldobreda.it/upload/allegati_prodotti/28_ITA_ic4.pdf
  4. ^ Formaliteter bremser de nye IC4-tog (dr.dk)
  5. ^ IC4-tog står bomstille (epn.dk)
  6. ^ a b c http://www.railwaygazette.com/news_view/article/2009/05/9606/dsb_reaches_ic4_settlement_with_ansaldobreda.html
  7. ^ http://ft.dk/samling/20081/almdel/TRU/Bilag/26/600876.PDF
  8. ^ http://bombardier.com/en/transportation/media-centre/press-releases/details?docID=0901260d80055a4a
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